Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Thursday, May 23, 2013

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 24th May 2013

Magnitude Mw 5.7
Date time 2013-05-24 03:47:07.0 UTC
Location 40.19 N ; 121.06 W
Depth 1 km
10 km NW of Greenville, United States / pop: 1,129 / local time: 20:47:07.0 2013-05-23

18 injured when thunderstorm hits Romanian capital

BUCHAREST, Romania: Authorities say 18 people have been taken to hospitals, including one in a coma, after a tent collapsed when heavy rain and strong winds hit the Romanian capital.

Interior ministry spokeswoman Andra Chesaru said trees were uprooted in and around the capital and billboards collapsed during the hour-long thunderstorm.

The National Weather Institute says winds reached 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph).

Norway: Hundreds evacuated and damage spreads as flood waters rise

Neighbours were crying and hugging one another Thursday morning as they watched raging flood waters slam into their homes in Kvam, in the valley of Gudbrandsdalen. Nearly 300 homeowners were evacuated during the night, as were others farther south in Eidsvoll and in several other communities around southern Norway as rain and snowmelt turned rivers and creeks into uncontrollable torrents.

In Eidsvoll, northeast of Oslo, around 40 homeowners were told to leave their homes because of fears a dam further upslope would burst. Others were evacuated in the counties of Hedmark, Oppland, Buskerud and Telemark as officials categorized this year’s spring flooding as the worst since 1995, so far.

It may get even worse, with more rain predicted and more rapid melting of snow and ice at higher elevations. Instead of beginning to melt slowly at the end of winter, this year’s unusually cold spring kept the snow and ice frozen well into May. When temperatures suddenly soared last week, the annual run-off quickly turned into the gushing torrents now threatening so many areas that emergency crews were struggling to keep up with demand.

Sweden Riots: Police Station Set On Fire

Groups of youths in Stockholm have burnt down a restaurant and torched more than 30 cars in a fourth night of rioting.

The unrest is being blamed on police shooting and killing a 69-year-old knife-wielding man on May 13.

Hundreds of young people are said to have been involved in the rioting in immigrant suburbs of the Swedish capital.

Skagit River Bridge Collapse: Interstate 5 Span In Washington State Crumbles Into The Water

Rescue teams are currently searching the river for survivors. At least two cars with people inside are believed to be in the water, reported.

There was no immediate word on injuries.

Drivers are being advised to avoid the area. The freeway has also been closed, Northwest Cable News reported.

I-5 bridge collapses in NW Wash.; people in water

The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in northern Washington state collapsed Thursday evening, sending vehicles and people into the water, the state patrol said.

Trooper Mark Francis told USA Today that two lanes in both directions collapsed.

No cause was known at this time, he said, and it was unknown how many vehicles were in the water or if there were deaths or injuries.

Interstate 5 is closed in both directions now, he said.

Jodi Arias: Jury Fails To Agree On Sentence

A new jury will be picked to decide the fate of boyfriend killer Jodi Arias as jurors say they have cannot agree on her sentence.

The 12 people who have sat through Arias' five-month trial will be dismissed after telling the judge they cannot agree unanimously on whether Arias, 32, should spend the rest of her life in prison or be given the death penalty.

The jury began deliberating the sentence on Tuesday, and earlier this week had told the judge they were at an impasse. However, they were instructed at that point to continue talks in hope of arriving at a decision.

Interstate 5: Washington state freeway span collapses into river: dispatcher

Part of a freeway bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state collapsed on Thursday, sending vehicles falling into the water below, an emergency dispatcher said.

Washington State Patrol dispatcher A.J. Cooper could give no further details and said she did not know if people were in the water under the portion of Interstate 5 that collapsed over the river.

William Hague: Israel Losing Support In UK

Britain's Foreign Secretary has brushed aside an Israeli minister's allegation that anti-Israeli sentiment was growing in the United Kingdom - by agreeing with him.

William Hague's comments come after Yuval Steinitz, a close confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said perceptions of Israel were more negative in Britain than in other countries.

"Traditionally we had good relations with Britain and currently we have good intelligence cooperation with Britain and it's very successful," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"(But) we are concerned about the relations, about what we see as some animosities and some incitement in Britain, in the media, made by NGOs (non-governmental organisations) against Israel.

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS - 24th May 2013

Magnitude mb 5.0
Date time 2013-05-24 01:50:57.0 UTC
Location 25.47 S ; 179.91 E
Depth 513 km
Distances 825 km S of Suva, Fiji / pop: 77,366 / local time: 13:50:57.0 2013-05-24

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH INDIAN OCEAN - 24th May 2013

Magnitude M 5.8
Date time 2013-05-24 01:17:06.5 UTC
Location 26.08 S ; 80.50 E
Depth 10 km
Distances 2441 km E of Port Louis, Mauritius / pop: 155,226 / local time: 05:17:06.5 2013-05-24

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake MACQUARIE ISLAND REGION - 24th May 2013

Magnitude mb 5.4
Date time 2013-05-24 01:10:02.0 UTC
Location 54.44 S ; 158.88 E
Depth 10 km
Distances 1875 km SW of Wellington, New Zealand / pop: 381,900 / local time: 13:10:02.0 2013-05-24

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G. - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 5.0
Date time 2013-05-23 23:33:54.0 UTC
Location 5.25 S ; 151.92 E
Depth 60 km
106 km S of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea / pop: 26,273 / local time: 09:33:54.0 2013-05-24

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN IRAN - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 5.0
Date time 2013-05-23 22:44:56.0 UTC
Location 27.32 N ; 53.54 E
Depth 10 km
70 km SW of Gerāsh, Iran / pop: 25,316 / local time: 03:14:56.0 2013-05-24

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 4.2
Date time 2013-05-23 22:12:05.0 UTC
Location 28.67 N ; 139.34 E
Depth 458 km
705 km S of Shizuoka-shi, Japan / pop: 701,561 / local time: 07:12:05.0 2013-05-24

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 5.0
Region TONGA
Date time 2013-05-23 21:15:55.0 UTC
Location 20.60 S ; 175.78 W
Depth 118 km
84 km NW of Havelu, Tonga / pop: 3,417 / local time: 10:15:55.0 2013-05-24

6.3 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude Mw 6.3
Region TONGA
Date time 2013-05-23 21:07:40.0 UTC
Location 20.53 S ; 175.85 W
Depth 92 km
95 km NW of Havelu, Tonga / pop: 3,417 / local time: 10:07:40.0 2013-05-24

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN ALGERIA - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude M 4.6
Date time 2013-05-23 20:03:13.0 UTC
Location 36.58 N ; 3.16 E
Depth 60 km
1 km N of L’Arba, Algeria / pop: 69,298 / local time: 21:03:13.0 2013-05-23

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake TIMOR REGION, INDONESIA - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude M 4.5
Date time 2013-05-23 19:07:22.0 UTC
Location 10.10 S ; 124.37 E
Depth 46 km
28 km S of Soe, Indonesia / pop: 27,717 / local time: 03:07:22.0 2013-05-24

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake MID-INDIAN RIDGE - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude M 4.7
Date time 2013-05-23 17:24:07.8 UTC
Location 10.18 S ; 66.68 E
Depth 10 km
Distances 1479 km NE of Port Louis, Mauritius / pop: 155,226 / local time: 21:24:07.8 2013-05-23

China Destroys 3 US Shipments of GM Corn (Good on them)

According to a report released today by GMWatch, China destroyed three shipments of GM corn imported from the US.

The first two shipments are referenced on the website of the Zhuhai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, confirming that two illegal GM corn shipments entered Wanzai Port in Zhuhai City on May 7th, and were subsequently destroyed:

Recently, during inspection and quarantine of imported food from USA by a certain company, the Wanzai Office of Zhuhai Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (in Guangdong Province in the south of China) detected two shipments containing GM corn products, which are not in compliance with China’s “Entry and Exit of Genetically Modified Products Inspection and Quarantine Management Approach“. The Office destroyed the two shipments of corn according to the provisions.*

The existence of a third shipment was confirmed in a May 19th article appearing on titled, “Harbin intercepted a total of 115 kgs of GM corn seeds, which will be destroyed“:

Recently, the Harbin Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau intercepted inbound mail of 21 cartons of corn seeds from USA, totaling 115 kgs, which were detected as GM seeds. This is the first time that the Heilongjiang Provincial Inspection and Quarantine System has intercepted inbound corn seeds containing GM ingredients. These corn seeds will be destroyed.

2 FBI Agents Involved in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Arrest “FALL” Out of Helicopter and Die

wo members of the FBI’s elite counterterrorism unit died Friday while practicing how to quickly drop from a helicopter to a ship using a rope, the FBI announced Monday in a statement.

The statement gave few details regarding the deaths of Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw, other than to say the helicopter encountered unspecified difficulties and the agents fell a “significant distance.”

Last month, the team was involved in the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. And in February, it rescued a 5-year-old boy held hostage for six days in an underground bunker in Alabama.

“Whenever things go really wrong, the FBI calls in the Hostage Rescue Team. It’s the government’s 911,” Coulson said.

Salmonella Tahini Outbreak in Six States

A total of eight persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Montevideo or Salmonella Mbandaka have been reported from six states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), North Dakota (1), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (1).

No ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Obama: Renewed Call To Close Guantanamo

In a wide-ranging, impassioned speech to define US foreign policies on terror, President Barack Obama has called on Congress to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.

The president also said he will lift a 2009 ban on transferring detainees from the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Yemen.

"These restrictions make no sense," he said, announcing to strong applause his renewed efforts to close Guantanamo.

Police search homes after British soldier's murder

Police arrest two more over London attack

British police arrested two more people on Thursday in a hunt for accomplices of two British men of Nigerian descent accused of hacking a soldier to death on a London street in revenge for wars in Muslim countries.

The two suspected killers, now under guard in hospitals, had been known to security services before Wednesday's daylight attack, security sources said. Another man and a woman, both aged 29, were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

One of the assailants, filmed calmly justifying the killing as he stood by the body holding a knife and meat cleaver in bloodied hands, was named by acquaintances as 28-year-old Londoner Michael Adebolajo - a British-born convert to Islam.

Iran denies its drone violated Bahrain's airspace

Iran denied on Thursday that one of its drones had violated the airspace of Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, Iranian media reported.

Bahrain's Information Minister Samira Rajab told Reuters on Thursday that an unmanned spy drone was found in the Gulf waters between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The incident could further inflame tensions between the two countries.

In a report carried by Iran's official IRNA news agency, an unnamed official at the Foreign Ministry denied an Iranian drone had violated the Gulf kingdom's airspace, without giving further details.

Obama: US Has Compromised 'Basic Principles'

In a wide-ranging, impassioned speech to define US foreign policies on terror, President Barack Obama says the US has at times "compromised our basic principles" in the international war on terrorism since 9/11.

Mr Obama indicated he regrets past uses of torture or other tactics to gather terror intelligence, and said he is "haunted" by unintended civilian casualties in unmanned drone strikes.

But the president also said the US is safer because of his administration's targeted and continued work to combat terrorism, and insisted US actions have been legal.

He said: "This is a just war. A war waged in last resort and in self-defence."

7.4 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude Mw 7.4
Date time 2013-05-23 17:19:02.0 UTC
Location 23.10 S ; 177.02 W
Depth 153 km
281 km SW of Vaini, Tonga / pop: 2,976 / local time: 06:19:02.0 2013-05-24

UK officials urge calm, unity following attack

South Koreans burn Japanese flag in protest at mayor's defence of using their women as 'sex slaves' for army during WWII

South Korean war veterans were burning Japanese flags and images of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today, after a top Japanese politician defended the use of Korean women as sex slaves during World War II.

Former soldiers rallied outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to denounce comments made by Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Osaka, that ‘comfort women’ were necessary to ‘maintain discipline’ in the Japanese Army.

The women, mainly from the Korean peninsula and China, were taken from their homes and made to work in military brothels to ‘comfort’ soldiers with sex.

Lee Rigby Killed just 200 yards away from the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich

The murdered soldier who was executed close to a military barracks by two Islamist fanatics was today named as Lee Rigby.

Police were this afternoon guarding the 25-year-old serviceman's home in Middleton, Greater Manchester, who was described as a 'loving father' to his son Jack, two.

Drummer Lee Rigby was just starting his Army career and had recently fought in Afghanistan with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

But as he walked towards the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south-east London yesterday afternoon, he was run down by a car on the pavement and hacked to death.

Woolwich 'Beheading' Attack: Radical Preacher Anjem Choudary Blames 'Murdering' British Troops

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary has blamed the terrorist murder in Woolwich on David Cameron and Britain's actions in Afghanistan.

Choudary, who grew up in Woolwich, was responded to reports that the alleged beheading was perpetrated by Islamic terrorists shouting "Allah u Akbar" - God is great.

In response to the news, Choudary tweeted: "National News tell me that the man killed in woolwich is apparently being treated as "terrorist" as the attackers were shouting Allahu Akbar.

Global Markets Down After Bernanke QE Talk

The FTSE lost close to 2% in early trading on the back of signs the US may wind down quantitative easing measures and weak Chinese data.

The losses were reflected across European bourses, spooked by a seven per cent plunge on Japan's Nikkei index.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index retreated 1.74%, Frankfurt's DAX 30 slumped 2.33% and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 2.20%.

The Madrid market gave up 2.11%, Milan slid 2.65% and Stockholm 2.33%.

Tokyo's main index closed down more than 7%.

'Al Qaeda' Twin Bomb Attacks In Niger Kill 25

Up to 25 people have been killed and others taken hostage in twin attacks on a military base and a uranium mine in Niger.

Niger's defence minister said 19 of the country's soldiers were killed and another 16 injured when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside a barracks in Agadez.

At the same time least 13 people were injured and five suicide bombers killed in blasts at the Somaïr uranium mine in Arlit, about 800km north east of the capital Niamey and 100 miles from the barracks.

The attacks are believed to have been carried out by Islamic extremists based in neighbouring Mali.

Woolwich: Why Do Britons Become Radicalised?...Was wondering when we would get round to Syria

The radicalisation of young British men - such as the suspects in the killing of a soldier in Woolwich - is a problem intelligence agencies are well aware of but difficult to tackle, analysts say.

Annie Machon, a former MI5 officer, told Sky News extreme political views and Western foreign policy usually play a role .

"There have been concerns voiced over the last couple of years about young people being radicalised who are going off to fight in jihadi wars across the Middle East," she said.

"The hot spot at the moment is Syria.

Drummer Lee Rigby Killed in Woolwich Attack

The soldier murdered in a terrorist attack near a military barracks in Woolwich has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby.

The 25-year-old, of 2nd Batallion the Royal Regiment of Fusilliers, was killed in front of shocked onlookers.

Witnesses said he was attacked by two men with a number of weapons, including knives and a meat cleaver, while they shouted the name of "Allah".

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said everyone had been "shocked and saddened" by Drummer Rigby's death.

5-year-old girl killed by suicide jumper in South Korea

A 5-year-old South Korean girl was killed when a man who jumped from his 11th floor apartment landed on top of her, police said.

The incident took place Wednesday in Busan, a port city in the southern part of the country.

The girl had left her apartment building with her parents when a 38-year-old tenant made his suicide plunge, said Busan Police officer Kim Gil-san.

The man died on the spot. He apparently was being treated for depression, police said.

Turkish blogger jailed for blasphemy

A Turkish-Armenian blogger vowed to appeal a day after an Istanbul court sentenced him to more than a year in prison for blasphemy.

In a phone interview with CNN, Sevan Nisanyan accused Turkey's Islamic-rooted government of politically persecuting him.

"When I attacked the Islamist establishment they felt I overstepped my boundaries," said Nisanyan, who is a member of Turkey's tiny Armenian ethnic minority. "Here I am an Armenian doing something no Armenian has done in a Muslim country. This is really the height of boldness, of impudence. This is something you are not supposed to do."

Oklahoma: Severe storms slam recovering area

Pounding rain soaked tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, on Thursday morning, and winds sent pieces of debris flying, hindering recovery efforts three days after the devastating tornado.

The number of injured rose as authorities announced that 353 people were hurt in Monday's massive twister. Another 24 were killed -- 10 of them children, including two infants, the state medical examiner's office said.

As water gushed through the streets Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Oklahoma City area, including Moore, and a severe thunderstorm warning as well.

Who is the real enemy in London hacking death?

We don't yet know all the details surrounding Wednesday's killing in London. But the fact is we have seen this type of attack before, and even before one of the suspects started ranting to passers-by, we had a pretty good idea what to expect. This killing of a young British soldier was not an act of insanity. It was part of a pattern that has struck in many parts of the world before. This was the product of extreme Islamist radicalism we have all come to recognize.

Some will rush to blame Muslims or Islam for what happened, but it's important to be clear and not to mince words.

Islam is not the enemy. Muslims are not the enemy. Terrorism is not the enemy.

The enemy is the radical Islamist ideology that justifies any atrocity committed for political motives. The enemies are the people who promote this dogma and encourage others to engage in actions that offend and assault our humanity -- and theirs.

Five thousand cave paintings discovered in Mexico by archaeologists

Nearly 5,000 ancient cave paintings have been discovered in Burgos, Mexico.

The red, white, black and yellow images depict humans hunting, fishing and gathering, as well as animals such as deer, lizards and centipedes.

Click here or on 'view gallery' to see more pictures of the uncovered cave paintings

The 4,926 paintings were discovered in 11 different sites and are thought to have been created by at least three groups of hunter gatherers.

In one cave more than 1,550 images were found, including an image of an atlatl, a Hispanic weapon used for hunting that has not been seen before in paintings in the Tamaulipas region.

Woolwich attacker was known to banned Islamist organisation

One of the two men involved in the Woolwich terror attack was known to a banned Islamist organisation and went by the name of Mujahid, The Independent has learned.

It was also reported today that the alleged killers, who are under armed guard in different London hospitals, were both known to security services.

Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the group, Al Muhajiroun, confirmed that he had known the man who was seen on video in the immediate aftermath of yesterday's horrific killing waving a cleaver with bloodied hands and making political statements.

Sweden riots expose ugly side of 'Nordic model'

The scene of Sweden's worst riots in years, Husby is on the surface at least a typically neat suburb of colorful playgrounds, manicured parks and low rise apartment buildings.

Conversations with residents of this immigrant neighborhood soon bring tales of fruitless job hunts, police harassment, racial taunts and a feeling of living at the margins that are at odds with Sweden's reputation for openness and tolerance.

Riots that began in Husby have spread across Stockholm over the last four nights in scenes reminiscent of London in 2011 and Paris in 2005 - outbursts with their roots in segregation, neglect and poverty. The Swedish model of welfare - such as its 480 days of parental leave for each child - hides another side.

Needed: New approaches to defuse 'suicide contagion' among teens

Experts on adolescent behaviour say the apparent susceptibility of Canadian teens to the idea of suicide shows the need to change public discussion about this sensitive topic.

Among the suggestions being put forward are finding new ways to refer to the act, to put it in a more appropriate context and training crisis-intervention teams to be more aware of how young people can respond to a suicide in their midst.

A study published May 21 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that teens who knew of schoolmates who took their own lives were more likely to consider it or attempt it themselves — a phenomenon the authors call "suicide contagion."

MARKET MELTDOWN: apanese Bond Market Halted At Open As Bond Selling Purge Goes Global

Japanese government bonds (JGB) futures have been halted once again this evening as the market opens down over 1 point. 10Y yields smash 11.5bps higher to 1.00% and 5Y yields add 6bps to 47bps. These are quite simply unprecedented moves in what 'was' a safe asset class and impresses yet another VaR shock on the market (as we detailed here). What this means practically is that Japanese banks push further into insolvency land (as we explained here) today's move wipes out another 1.5% of blended Tier 1 capital off the entire Japanese banking industry. Since the 10Y JGB yield lows of 32.5 bps on April 5, the move is rapidly approaching a full percentage point, or the parallel shift amount that the IMF warned would lead to 10% and 20% MTM losses for regional and major banks respectively. Today's jump in 10Y yields continues the post-BoJ regime of greater-than-six-sigma moves... something no risk model can withstand for three weeks. Just a good job the BoJ didn't have anything at all to say about this totally disorderly fiasco yesterday.

Dale Pipe 'became obsessed with Batman's Joker' attacked innocent stranger with an axe

A psychotic bodybuilder obsessed with Batman's arch nemesis the Joker has admitted carrying out a terrifying unprovoked axe attack on a stranger in a public gym.

Former chef Dale Pipe asked 'Why so serious?' - the phrase uttered by Heath Ledger's character in The Dark Knight - immediately after attacking a fellow leisure centre user.

The deranged 20-year-old had armed himself with an axe as well as kitchen and craft knives, before targeting a 22-year-old man at Belle Vue Leisure Centre in Consett, County Durham, in January.

The victim, who was using a urinal when he was attacked, suffered 16 wounds to the head, neck and chest.

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake GREECE - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 4.9
Date time 2013-05-23 14:09:06.0 UTC
Location 38.68 N ; 20.50 E
Depth 2 km
18 km W of Nidri, Greece / pop: 1,011 / local time: 17:09:06.0 2013-05-23

Riding the EU gravy train: MEPs in Brussels earn up to 740% more than average citizen and enjoy free haircuts and gallons of petrol

Biting austerity cuts across Europe have not nibbled into the gilded lifestyle of Brussels lawmakers as a new survey shows the incredible perks they continue to enjoy at the expense of taxpayers across the continent.

From Italian MEPs who enjoy free haircuts to Maltese ones who get 52 free gallons of petrol a month, the perks - and expenses - continue unabated for the representatives of European Union nations.

MEPS from the 27 EU nations are paid salaries of £137million a year, according to research by German pricing watchdog

The huge sum paid by the 500million citizens does not include the lavish allowances for legislators’ staff.

France wants Hezbollah armed wing on EU terror list by end-June

France said on Thursday it hoped an initiative could be agreed by the end of June to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on the EU's list of terrorist organizations on grounds the group is importing Syria's war into Lebanon.

Paris has traditionally been cautious about backing steps to sanction Hezbollah, fearing it could destabilize Lebanon and put U.N. peacekeepers at risk, but in recent weeks has said it would consider all options.

Britain said this week it wants the EU to add the military wing to the list because of evidence the Islamist group was involved in an attack that killed five Israelis in Bulgaria.

North Korea says willing to take China's advice to start talks

North Korea is willing to take China's advice and enter into talks, Chinese state television cited an envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as saying, following weeks of tension on the Korean peninsula after the North's latest nuclear test.

However, that prospect seems unlikely as North Korea has repeatedly said it will not abandon nuclear weapons while the United States insists North Korea must take meaningful steps on denuclearization before there can be talks.

The visit to Beijing by Choe Ryong-hae, a top North Korean military officer, is the most high-level contact between North Korea and China in about six months.

Kevin Dahlgren Hunted Over Czech Family Murders

A California man is being hunted by police in the Czech Republic investigating the killing of four members of the same family.

Detectives in the eastern European nation's second-largest city of Brno named their suspect as 20-year-old Kevin Dahlgren.

They have released a photograph from his Facebook page which says he was born in 1992 and comes from Palo Alto.

His online profile suggests he offered English lessons.

Close-up footage of Oklahoma tornado as deadly twister strikes overhead

Michelle Obama 'once dated inspector general at the center of IRS investigation tea party scandal', lawmaker claims

A young Michelle Robinson, the future first lady of the United States, may have dated Treasury Department Inspector General J. Russell George at Harvard Law School, a new report claims.

George, 49, has testified in two congressional hearings about the IRS's unethical targeting of conservative organizations with special scrutiny after they applied for tax-exempt status.

The revelation of a previous link to Michelle Obama came in a lengthy interview with George - published a week after the IRS scandal was brought to light.

Michael Bellah Arrested: Woman is choked and raped by her ex-lover after 911 dispatcher tells her there are no cops to help - and instead says she should ASK attacker to leave

A woman from Josephine County, Oregon, dialed 911 to report that Michael Bellah (pictured) was trying to break into her home, but in response she was told that there are no officers on duty to help her due to budget cuts. After a 10-minute conversation with a 911 dispatcher, Bellah forced his way into the house, choked his former girlfriend and raped her. he was later arrested and pleaded guilty to kidnapping, assault and sex abuse.

IMF boss Christine Lagarde to be formally charged TODAY after 'abusing position with £270million fraud and embezzlement scam'

The head of the International Monetary Fund appeared in court today where she is expected to be formally charged in connection with a £270million fraud and embezzlement case.

Christine Lagarde’s humiliation is not only a massive personal blow which could lead to her resignation, but one which will plunge the world’s banking system into further ignominy.

The clearly nervous 57-year-old said nothing to reporters as she entered the Court of Justice of the Republic, a special tribunal set up to judge the conduct of France’s government ministers, shortly after 8.30am.

Michael Adebolajo: Police swoop on house in Lincolnshire village as it emerges 'Islamists who killed soldier' are British born and were KNOWN to security services

Sources today named one of the suspects as Michael Adebolajo (pictured) who, along with his fellow alleged killer, is a British citizen who converted to a radical form of Islam. They are not thought to have links to terror groups based in Nigeria, such as the jihadist militant organisation Boko Haram. The Foreign Office warns of a high threat from terrorism in the West African nation and raises the prospect of a risk of retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali.

US report warns on China IP theft

The theft of intellectual property from the US is "unprecedented" and costing the nation an estimated $300bn (£200bn) each year, a report says.

The study, led by former top-ranking officials, said China was thought to be behind 50-80% of the theft.

Stronger deterrent measures that made IP theft unprofitable were needed, the report said.

These included banking sanctions and import or investment curbs on companies failing to protect IP rights.

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 4.4
Date time 2013-05-23 10:47:54.3 UTC
Location 40.27 N ; 140.76 E
Depth 92 km
9 km N of Kazuno, Japan / pop: 36,925 / local time: 19:47:54.3 2013-05-23

EU may give Greece more time to meet fiscal targets: Dijsselbloem

The euro zone may give Greece more time to meet fiscal targets agreed under its international bailout, the chairman of the euro zone finance ministers said in an interview published on Thursday.

"The Commission's approach regarding fiscal consolidation is more flexible, giving certain countries more time to meet their targets. I believe that this will be the case for Greece if needed," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Kathimerini newspaper.

Greece's European partners agreed last year to extend the maturities and reduce the interest on the nation's bailout funds to help cut its debt mountain to a more sustainable level of 124 percent of GDP in 2020, from an estimated 173 percent this year.

Bernanke Sparks Massive Sell Off

Chemical that sparked deadly Texas explosion found across U.S.

At least 800,000 people across the United States live near hundreds of sites that store large amounts of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate, which investigators are blaming as the source of last month's deadly blast at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, a Reuters analysis shows.

Hundreds of schools, 20 hospitals and 13 churches, as well as hundreds of thousands of households, also sit near the sites. At least 12 ammonium-nitrate facilities have 10,000 or more people living within a mile.

Iran seeks to speed up nuclear activity: IAEA

Iran is trying to accelerate its uranium enrichment program, a U.N. nuclear report showed, but experts said it was unclear when Tehran's new machines could start operating and how efficiently they would work.

The Islamic state's progress in introducing next-generation centrifuges is closely watched in the West and Israel as it would enable Tehran to speed up accumulation of material that could be used to build atomic bombs. Iran denies any such aim.

Iran has tried for years to develop centrifuges more advanced than the erratic 1970s-vintage IR-1 machines it now runs, but deploying new models has been dogged by technical hurdles and difficulty in obtaining parts abroad.

Five killed, 50 wounded in Lebanon's Tripoli

Five people were killed and more than 50 wounded in overnight clashes in Tripoli between Lebanese gunmen backing rival factions in Syria's civil war, doctors and security sources said on Thursday.

Tripoli has suffered sporadic sectarian violence since the Sunni Muslim-led uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March 2011, but after a night of mortar, grenade and machinegun fire, residents said this was the fiercest so far.

At least 18 people have been killed and more than 170 wounded in the Lebanese port city since the latest bout of fighting started on Sunday.

Largest Bulgarian party will not try to form government opening the Way for a Technocrat Government

Bulgaria's largest party GERB declined on Thursday to try to form a new government, opening the way for the rival Socialists to put together a technocrat administration and end a political impasse.

The center-right GERB won most seats in a May 12 election in the European Union's poorest country but cannot command a majority, as other parties are shunning it after its resignation during protests against low living standards in February.

"Every day, every hour is important for Bulgaria to have a government, so please allow me to return the mandate now, so that you can continue with your consultations," GERB leader Boiko Borisov told Bulgaria's president.

With every fifth Bulgarian living under the poverty line and unemployment at an eight-year high, the country needs a working government to draft a 2014 budget and negotiate EU funds to 2021 - key to reviving the economy and creating new jobs.

London attacker British, of Nigerian origin: source

British authorities have established that one and possibly both of the men who hacked a soldier to death on a London street was born in Britain of Nigerian descent, a source with knowledge of the investigation said on Thursday.

Local media named the man who was definitely born in the country as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo and said police raided the home of his Nigerian family in a village near the eastern English city of Lincoln. Both men appeared to have converted to Islam from Christian immigrant backgrounds, British media said.

Both suspects in the attack, conducted in broad daylight on Wednesday afternoon, are in custody after being shot by police.

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 4.4
Date time 2013-05-23 10:47:12.0 UTC
Location 53.05 N ; 159.55 E
Depth 85 km
60 km E of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia / pop: 187,282 / local time: 23:47:12.0 2013-05-23

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 4.5
Date time 2013-05-23 09:57:55.0 UTC
Location 53.03 N ; 159.57 E
Depth 87 km
61 km E of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia / pop: 187,282 / local time: 22:57:55.0 2013-05-23

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake CELEBES SEA - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 4.8
Date time 2013-05-23 09:29:47.0 UTC
Location 2.35 N ; 124.81 E
Depth 256 km
95 km N of Manado, Indonesia / pop: 451,893 / local time: 17:29:47.0 2013-05-23

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake GUAM REGION - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude ML 4.2
Date time 2013-05-23 09:12:06.9 UTC
Location 12.77 N ; 144.64 E
Depth 74 km
54 km S of Merizo Village, Guam / pop: 1,850 / local time: 19:12:06.9 2013-05-23

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - 23rd May 2013

Magnitude mb 4.5
Date time 2013-05-23 07:45:55.1 UTC
Location 9.55 N ; 126.23 E
Depth 66 km
26 km SE of Union, Philippines / pop: 2,368 / local time: 15:45:55.1 2013-05-23